In the old, environmentally irresponsible, days you could guzzle a soda and just chuck the can in the trash. Your only duty was to buy and consume. Things have changed. Now, you think about all those cans piling up ready to be lugged to the recycling center. You want to be released from duty and just enjoy your sodas again.
Fortunately, manufacturers have designed home water carbonators that allow you to make your own “home brew” sodas. You lose the can clutter and gain the pleasure of drinking your own creations. The soda making appliances give you the flexibility to carbonate water for plain old seltzer or find a fancy recipe for a soda you can’t buy in any store.
The carbonation appliances use a carbon dioxide cartridge to change plain water into sparkling water. Most of them come with either a plastic bottle or a glass carafe. You fill the container with cold water, position it in the appliance, hit the button a few times and you have instant carbonated water. If you like seltzer, you are good to go. Add a quick squeeze of lemon or lime and you have a refreshing beverage.
If you prefer sodas, the manufacturers sell a wide variety of flavors. You can keep an assortment on hand for multiple family members or just to satisfy your own taste buds with a little variety. Families with several soda drinkers may want to purchase additional bottles or carafes to allow everyone to have the flavors they want.
You can also add your own flavors from commercially available syrups that are not normally used to flavor sodas. You can mix things up to your individual taste. Add a little chocolate and cherry flavoring to your cola or make your own specialty from scratch. If you prefer a healthier beverage, you can experiment with mixtures of water and fruit juice or flavor the water with a bit of fruit juice concentrate. The manufacturer strongly cautions users not to carbonate any liquid other than water. You add your flavor selections after the water is carbonated.
If you prefer to avoid aspartame or high fructose corn syrup, flavorings from a major manufacturer are made without these ingredients. And, some syrups contain a combination of sugar and an artificial sweetener so that you can reduce the calorie content without having to go for a zero calorie diet drink.
The most popular carbonator takes up about the same amount of space as a medium sized food processor. It is not a tiny thing. However, the space is significantly less than a stockpile of twelve packs of every favorite soda. The carbon dioxide canisters need to be replaced periodically so you will probably need to store at least one spare cartridge. And, you may want to keep some extra containers on hand.
The fun factor is clearly there and this is an environmentally friendly choice. However, whether or not you will save money with a home water carbonator depends on your beverage choice. The initial cost of a kit that includes the carbonator, a carbon dioxide cartridge and two bottles starts at about one hundred dollars. If you stock up on sodas when they are on sale, the start up cost of switching to a home carbonator will probably cost as much as 300 to 400 cans of soda. The starter kit will make less than half that many sodas and you may need to buy additional syrups if you prefer sodas to seltzer
One manufacturer estimates the cost of a twelve ounce soda or a one liter bottle of sparkling water made with the home carbonator at 25 cents. At typical grocery store prices that makes the home water carbonator a good deal for soda makers and an even better deal if you want to make your own seltzer. However, it may take a little time to cover the initial costs.